Friday, August 6, 2010

Protest in New York against Operation Green Hunt on 13th August 2010

Press Release,

Protest Against the Indian Government’s “Operation Green Hunt”

Where: At the Consulate in New York City (3 East 64th Street)

When: On August 13 at 11 a.m.

EW YORK CITY – Sanhati, and other organizations and individuals, are organizing a protest against the Indian government’s insidious war, named “Operation Green Hunt,” which has been unleashed on the inhabitants of the forested regions of East-Central India. The protest will approximately coincide with Indian Independence Day (August 15) to emphasize that the promises of independence have remain largely unfulfilled for a large section of the population, including the tribal peoples.

In its current phase, this war is concentrated primarily in the forested regions of East-Central India, stretching from the states of Chhattisgarh to Jharkhand and West Bengal. This region is home to significant amounts of natural resources.

Big corporations, both Indian and foreign, are plundering these natural resources for quick profits and plan to continue doing so while paying almost no attention to the enormous environmental and human costs inherent in their ventures. The state and central governments continue to welcome these big corporations with open arms by signing an unknown number of memoranda of understanding with them—whose details have been kept secret. A recent report by the Ministry of Rural Development, on the other hand, described these trends as one of the biggest land grabs since the time of Columbus.

Yet these forested areas house not only natural resources. This region is home to a large section of India’s roughly 100 million Adivasis (i.e., the tribal population). Using all means at their disposal, the Adivasis resisted the government’s efforts to forcibly drive them from their ancestral lands. Drawing on the Fifth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, which is devoted to Adivasi rights and provisions for their protection, Adivasi activists challenged the government’s expropriations.

Instead of addressing the genuine grievances of the Adivasis, the Indian government has cracked down on their legitimate protests in violation of the letter and intent of the Indian Constitution. Peaceful resistance movements across this region have been met with police brutality and military might; this forced the arming of a section of the resistance movement. State-assisted vigilante groups like the Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh and Harmad Bahini in West Bengal were a response of the state to the armed resistance of the Adivasis.

When that failed, Operation Green Hunt—a further escalation and militarization of the State’s response—emerged. Such militarization is facilitated by the Indian government’s military cooperation with the United States and Israel.

Sections of civil society have been urging the central government to stop Operation Green Hunt and begin negotiations with the diverse people’s organizations opposing the looting of natural resources. The response of the government to the idea of dialogue has in general not been encouraging in view of the plans of increased militarization, human rights abuses committed by the security forces, suppression of dissenting voices, and abductions and killings of the leaders of people’s organizations.

In this context, Adivasis in India, and all the people who are with them in this struggle for freedom from exploitation and oppression, need your support. Join us to protest against Operation Green Hunt and the increasing violence of the Indian State on democratic movements on August 13, 2010 at 11 a.m. in front of the Indian Consulate in New York City.

Oppose the biggest land grab since Columbus!

Oppose Operation Green Hunt!

Oppose the war on people!

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